Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bummer - Chicken with Mussels and Clams

Ireland has edged out Russia as the foreign country most frequently visiting my blog. I still don't know exactly how this works. I don't know anybody in Ireland (I still think the Russian Osherowitzes and Osherofskys are searching for me) nor do I have any connection to Thailand or Indonesia.

It's 2 in the afternoon and I am sitting up in bed. I haven't been able to sit up and stay up until now, although I tried several times during the day. I totally missed my tai chi class. My muscles all seem as heavy as though wearing lead pajamas, or trying to take a walk across Jupiter. I'm out-of-sync with earth-normal gravity. My right hand is heaviest of all, making it difficult to manipulate the iPhone without inadvertently tapping all over the screen, raising posts in which I have no interest. The iPad is also a problem, but since I use a Zagg keyboard, I can rest my palm some distance from the active screen.  In other words, this day sucks.

Spain and Australia have joined the list of foreign countries peeking in on the blog, along with the usual suspects of France and Germany. I wonder if I should be adding Ukraine to Russia?

As you may have guessed, I haven't done a lick of food shopping or cooking today. Hell, I haven't done any eating today. Now both hands keep flopping down on the keyboard causing me to type extra letters. What the hell??

I made it downstairs, my hands full of papers and girl puppy, by sliding against the rail. I managed to pull together a shopping list. Arancini and cream of wild mushroom soup are going to have to wait. Today all I am going to cook is the Chicken with Mussels and Clams. The Burgundy Beef Stew is next, a tomorrow project. After that I'll see just how many spoons I've got.  It's going to take me 3 days minimum, more realistically 4, as I've added potato salad and cauliflower with cheese sauce to the list. This all may sound like too much food, but there is nothing cooked up in the fridge other than 2 lasagna rolls and a handful of broccoli.

Today has been a mostly crappy day; I feel positively fragile, unsteady on my feet despite Horatio Cane, fuzzy in the head, no strength in my hands. I did food shop and I did finish the Chicken with Mussels and Clams, and therefore I claim a minor victory. Missing tai chi class this morning positively bummed me out.

I'm sitting on his step stool and he is one pissed-off Jedi

This recipe was originally from Good Housekeeping's online site and it appears I printed it out on March 7, 1998, at 11:36 AM, meaning to try it sometime soon. I just checked, and the recipe is still there if you would like to follow it as originally written.  I made a few changes, and while I'm sure the GH version is delicious, I can only judge the dish I made and it is stupendous. I didn't go whole hog (the name of an awesome barbecue joint in Little Rock, Arkansas) and make the couscous, just because I have other sides in my menu.

I chose to use chicken thighs, because they are my favorite part of the chicken; because they are the most reasonably priced of any other part of the chicken; and because there is the added bonus of all that chicken fat and attached skin that gets trimmed off and saved for the next big batch of schmaltz and gribenes.

Chicken with Mussels and Clams

5 pounds chicken thighs (about 10 thighs)
kosher salt
ground black pepper
Emeril's Essence
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 - 7 oz. can chopped fire-roasted green chilies, undrained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 dozen cherrystone clams
1 pound small mussels
1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley (I used dried parsley flakes)

I used a rectangular electric frying pan , which let me cook everything in one batch. You will want to trim the excess fat and attached skin from the back and sides, but leave the skin on over the top of the chicken.  Using the salt, pepper, and Essence, season the skin-side of the chicken.

You can see the makings of schmaltz and gribenes lower left

Rinse the clams and mussels with cold water; remove any beards from the mussels (farmed mussels have almost no beards.)          

Heat the oil at 350 to 375 degrees in the electric frying pan. Place the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until nicely browned. Season the remaining side of chicken, then turn and brown. Remove all of the browned chicken to a baking dish, and carefully remove all of the excess fat.

Return the chicken to the frying pan, and add the stewed tomatoes, green chilies, chili powder, sugar, and 2 cups of water; stir gently to combine. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the shells open and the clams are tender.

If they are still a bit tough, remove the mussels, cover the pan and cook a few minutes longer. Discard any unopened shells. You can serve from the pan, or move the completed dish to an aluminum baking dish. I think I would like this with bread. Crusty bread, good for dipping into the tasty sauce. GAAAHLIC bread, good for anything.

I am so freaking tired.

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